China’s Culinary Impact On The Caribbean

jamaican-chop-suey

jamaican-chop-suey

By Minna LaFortune

 News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. June 10, 2016: The influences of China in the Caribbean are many and has transcended the region and remained in the culture of the Caribbean Diaspora the world over in many ways.

Recently, I was so haunted by the memory of cooking Jamaican-Chinese Chop Suey for dinner and parties that it motivated me to go in-search for the ingredients and cooked it for one of my dinner parties. It was so delicious I am still getting calls to prepare it again.

While there are many ways it can be argued that the influence of China is evident in Caribbean culture, it is in our Cuisine that I would like to focus on.

Many Caribbean nationals love Chinese cooking, and in Jamaica for example, there are different ways some Chinese dishes are prepared as compared to how they are prepared here in the New York City By Chinese chefs.

For example, in Jamaica, Chinese fried rice and Chinese Chop Suey is done differently than in New York. The preparation of pork dishes is also different.

Also the introduction of noodles, soy sauce, oyster sauce, bamboo shoot, pak choi and fried rice and roast pork are some of the ingredients and dishes that have become stapes in our diets.

Jamaican Chinese Chop Suey is a very delicious dish and very easy to make.  I love this dish because it was my father who introduced my siblings and I to the Chinese culture, language and cuisine in Jamaica. And it was he who taught me how to cook it.

My father was a merchant who bought haberdashery items from Mr. Moo and traveled the entire island re-selling them. He sold pins, exercise school books, toys, medicines, clothing to various shop keepers throughout the rural towns across the island.

As a family we travelled with him many times. It was very interesting hearing my father speak fluent Chinese with Mr. Moo and fluent Patoi and English with his customers. I thoroughly enjoyed those days, because they were lots of fun.

My father loved to cook also and so learning how to cook Chinese dishes from him was a big thrill for me because I felt he knew the secret spices and sauces.

So today in honor of my father and the Chinese influences I grew up with in Jamaica; the grocery shops, the fire crackers at Christmas, the windup toys, the fried rice and Cantonese roast pork and various vegetables dishes for lunch to listening to the rhythm of  the language being spoken by my father and his Chinese business associates, I would like to share the recipe for Jamaican Chinese Chop Suey with you!

Jamaican Chinese Chop Suey

Ingredients

For 4 people

2 whole chicken breasts

1/4 cup(s) White Vinegar

4 cup(s) water

1 teaspoon(s) salt

1 tablespoon(s) soy sauce

1 clove(s) garlic, minced

2 stalk(s) celery, julienne

2 medium carrots

1 small sweet pepper, julienne

2 cup(s) pak choi, chopped

2 cup(s) cabbage, coarsely chopped

2 stalk(s) scallion

1/4 cup(s) vegetable Oil

2 teaspoon(s) cornstarch

1/4 cup(s) water

Directions

  • De-bone and cut chicken breasts into strips and wash with a vinegar and water solution.
  • Season with salt, soy sauce and garlic. Set aside.
  • Cut celery, carrots, sweet pepper and pak choi into strips, coarsely shred cabbage and chop scallion.
  • Heat 2 Tbsps. Vegetable Oil in a frying pan.
  • Add celery and carrot and sauté for 3-5 minutes.
  • Add sweet pepper, pak choi, and cabbage and stir fry until crunchy.
  • Remove from the frying pan.
  • Add the remaining oil, if necessary, and sauté scallion until transparent.
  • Add seasoned chicken and fry lightly.
  • Dissolve cornstarch with water and add to the cooked chicken.
  • Continue cooking for another two minutes or until slightly thickened.
  • Return the cooked vegetables to the frying pan and toss well.
  • Serve with White Rice.

Bon Appetite!

 

minna-la-fortune
EDITOR’S NOTE: Minna LaFortune is a trained Caribbean caterer and also president, Society for the Advancement of the Caribbean Diaspora (SACD). Check out her food group on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/bestfoodscaribbean/